School board member voices his opinion on board, media and public

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 | 5:34 p.m. CDT; updated 5:22 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — School board member Tom Rose spoke to the board “as a citizen” during the public comments portion of the meeting Monday night.

School Board President Karla DeSpain said Rose’s decision to voice his opinion in the way he did “was an unusual circumstance, but his comments were absolutely accurate and very well stated.”

The comments, she said, “reflected positively and negatively on everyone that was mentioned.”

In his comments, Rose alternately criticized and defended the administration, the media and the public, saying that mistakes had been made by all parties in terms “of misperception, miscommunication and errors in judgment which have allowed emotion to cloud reality and understanding.” Rose acknowleged, though, that none of these mistakes were made with malicious intent.

“I felt like I needed to respond to some concerns I’d heard from the public,” Rose said on Tuesday. “Concerns about a number of different things.”

Rose, who is running for the board election in April, insisted that the move wasn’t political.

“I may have only have a month or so left,” Rose said. He said he didn’t want to look back and “wish I had said something.”

The following are excerpts from his speech:

“Has the district administration or board of education ever betrayed the trust of its employees or the community? Say through the choice of a school location or a contract, or a math curriculum, or a hiring procedure, or conducting a survey?” Rose asked. “I could most probably say in a single word ‘yes,’ but I can confidently say certainly never, never intentionally.”

“Has the media ever betrayed the trust of the district and its citizens and respect for confidentiality where respect was due?” asked Rose. “I could most probably say in a single word ‘yes,’ but I truly, though maybe naively, believe never with the intent to discredit.”

“Have we, the citizens in this district, lost trust by being a community that does not use all the available avenues to become fully informed about the issues before drawing conclusions, passing judgement or voicing comment?” asked Rose. “In a word I could most probably say ‘yes,’ but never without the singular concern for the proper use of our tax dollars and for what is truly right for our district teachers and staff and our children.”

To see the full text of Rose’s comments and to give us your thoughts, go to

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